19 March 2015

Question to the European Commission with regard to the Interstate Treaty on Gambling

Question for written answer to the Commission
Rule 130
John Stuart Agnew (EFDD)

 Subject:  Germany's Interstate Treaty on Gambling
Germany’s apparent ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ (Commission communication SG(2012) D/50777) with the Commission has protected it from an infringement procedure related to its amended Interstate Treaty on Gambling for over two years now. Under the agreement, Germany was obliged to prove the suitability of its gambling law. Although the agreement’s two-year validity period expired on 1 July 2014, no infringement procedure has been initiated to date. This means that a potentially illegal law is still in place.

1. Have other Member States been granted a gentlemen’s agreement before which delayed the initiation of an infringement procedure?

2. Does the Commission deem the amended Interstate Treaty on Gambling and its implementation to be in compliance with EC law?

3. If not, why has the Commission not taken action by means of an infringement procedure without further delay?

European Commission on the sports betting licensing procedure in Germany

Question for written answer to the Commission
Rule 130
Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (ALDE)

 Subject:  Modification to the German State Treaty on Gambling
On 15 December 2011, all the German states apart from Schleswig-Holstein signed a modification to the State Treaty on Gambling. The most significant amendment is that private sports betting providers can obtain up to 20 concessions. Transposition of the modification took place in 2011 and 2012 with implementation laws which differed among the states.

For example, as the state government of Hessen concedes in a reply to a parliamentary question, imposing the numerical restriction on concessions has proved enormously long, complicated and open to dispute. In particular, the measure to contain illegal sports betting has backfired and had the opposite effect. This is mainly because the state government has still not awarded the concessions, nearly two years after the Modification came into force. The current limbo surrounding the award procedure enables private betting providers operating illegally to function largely without regulation.

The Commission gave the new Treaty a two-year trial period, which expired in July 2014.

1. What is the Commission's assessment of the implementation of the Treaty in Germany?

2. Does the tendering procedure in Hessen satisfy the principle of equal opportunity and transparency, and is it compatible with European law?

3. Does the Commission intend to initiate infringement proceedings against Germany as a result of the situation surrounding the award procedure?


Parliamentary questions
11 March 2015
Answer given by Ms Bieńkowska on behalf of the Commission
The Commission continues monitoring closely the implementation of the German State Treaty on Gambling. The modified regime for sport betting is part of that ongoing evaluation. The Commission is aware that the tendering procedure for the award of sport betting concessions is currently still subject to review in the national remedy system. The process of the award of sport betting concessions is considered as part of the overall assessment of whether the objectives in the public interest justifying the restrictions of the German gambling legislation are met in a consistent and systematic manner as stipulated in the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (see recently Case C-390/12, Pfleger, judgment of 30 April 2014 paragraph 43).